Holly Artkamp, RN, is in her first year as the CNO at large continuum care facility in Dayton, Ohio, responsible for almost 350 older adults and a staff of 400.  She has been serving in the healthcare field for 16 years and has served in many different roles within the organization from nursing assistant, to supervisor, to managing acute rehabilitation center, to long term care and memory care and assisted living, and also serving as the infection prevention specialist and finally worked in acute care medical surgical nursing. She takes pride in her leadership focus on teaching and the ability to create collaborative work environments.   

Artkamp states, “It been very interesting to see the response of healthcare during the pandemic and the lack of understanding how long-term care facilities operate within the healthcare system.  I think very few understand that we operate with few physicians and a limited leadership team, as opposed to the acute care setting with multi-tiered nurse specialists/leaders and physician specialist and physician administration and increased financial resources. We are heavily regulated yet minimally reimbursed, charged with caring for some of the most vulnerable older adults. My ability to implement and interpret state and federal guidelines and recommendations and incorporate them into frontline action has been challenged and grown through this process of ever evolving pandemic response.  Because of the limited leadership positions in a long-term care facility, through the evolving pandemic, other department heads and disciplines are largely looking to the nursing professionals on the team to help lead or guide implementation of new protocols outside of the nursing team. 

Artkamp is constantly reading, learning, and consulting on the most up to date information available through CDC and her state health department to ensure their policies and practices in place keep the residents safe.  Maintaining the updates and changes and attending teleconferences could be a full time job in itself, says Artkamp. Impacting psychosocial needs of residents by advocating the use of technology to keep them connected, as well as teaching and carrying out the recommendations to the frontline staff who need to know the information takes up a lot of time too. Artkamp has always been very connected to her team and has elevated this connection by offering support for facing the unknown, explaining changes in processes, and ensuring those changes are being implemented in safe manner. Artkamp has been able to maintain staffing through active involvement and communication with her team and has not had utilize an external staffing agency.  

Artkamp states, “Great efforts have gone in to making sure our residents and their families who are trusting us with some of their most beloved are able to maintain physical and emotional well-being.  This is a heavy responsibility and one that is not taken lightly.  We have implemented window visits and leveraged technology to be able video chat.”

“As nurses we are trained to look at problem holistically and search for multi-faceted solutions (care plan) for that problem. The nursing process teaches you not only to respond to health and wellness but to measurably find ways to improve outcomes.  Nurses most definitely need to be a part of the discussions of how Covid-19 is impacting our older adults population and those specifically living in congregate living situation.  Nurses also need to be a part of the discussion of racial health disparity that Covid-19 is bringing to light.  Maintenance, preventative health, and access to healthcare are all ongoing decisions that require nurse leadership and advocacy,” says Artkamp.